Virtual Reality to Change How We Eat
Food and virtual reality. Those are two things that you might not have thought you would hear together. Well, now that’s changing.
Imagine you’re eating lasagne for dinner and there’s lots of cheese. You love it and enjoy the meal. The burp when you’re finished eating signifies that you’re content. You leave the table and don’t regret any of the calories that you consumed. The reason is because you never really consumed any calories. The cheese and lasagna weren’t really cheese and lasagna. What you really were eating was a healthy slab of newfangled munchies that came from agar, konjac jelly and gum Arabic which imitates lasagna, steak, sushi and pies.
Kokiri Lab is the company that’s creating this insane gastronomical experience. The company was founded by South Korean entrepreneur, Jinsoo An and they’re based in Los Angeles. They call the experience, ‘Project Nourished’ and it’s expected to be released this summer.
Kokiri is working with developmental chefs, food scientists and researchers who deal with sensory perception in the hopes that they can change how people eat. The Project Nourished virtual reality kid contains six components: a VR headset to enable visual simulation of the location and change the look of the food; a bone conduction transducer which imitates the chewing sounds that go from the person’s mouth to their ear drums with bones and soft tissues; 3D printed food which helps to articulate consistency, texture and taste; a gyroscopic utensil to enable the person’s physical movement to be mimicked in virtual reality; a virtual cocktail glass that has sensors built-in for beverages and developing simulated intoxication and an aromatic diffuser to dissipate the smell of different foods by utilizing heat and ultrasonic.
The company’s website, says, “Our perception of a meal relies upon different sensory input derived from the visuals, flavors, scents, textures, consistency and auditory feedback of what we eat. By isolating various flavor compounds and recreating their taste and textural profiles—coupled with virtual reality, aromatic diffusion and auditory sensation—we can mimic a surprising amount of eating experience.”
In addition to the healthy food options, Project Nourished wants to enable people to have start of the art high class dining experiences as well. The virtual reality kit includes a 360-degree VR video that can be downloaded with lots of different themes. You’re able to eat your dinner next to the stars in the sky or next to the beach with the nice beach wind.
Samsung is another company that’s going into the culinary virtual reality area. This may eventually result in restaurants changing in the future.
Samsung’s website says, “While there is a wow factor to using this cutting-edge technology, the impact of virtual reality is a natural fit for restaurants that want to create a complete experience around a meal, not just serve a plate of food.”
Virtual Reality Decreases Food Calories Intake
“When launching a virtual reality experience at your restaurant, the first consideration is what type of overall experience is needed for diners, and how to integrate all five sense. Once this is established, the restaurant plans out the meal. It is important that the food remains the focal point, and that the effects used only enhance the overall dining experience. Both the overall experience and the food should be drivers for all the other artistic and technological decisions for the event.”
McDonald’s is an example of a company that’s taking small steps towards virtual reality, but they are taking steps. The company recently offered “Happy Goggles” which are virtual reality headsets that were created from folding Happy Meal boxes. The virtual reality food/dining idea is very intriguing, but only time will tell as to whether or not it ends up being feasible for mass consumers and how exactly it will evolve.